Taking cues from the Ibicencan landscape for her latest transformation, Villa Nomad – a sand-toned villa in the northern corner of San Carlos.
Reed roof, blush-plaster exteriors, micro cement floors: a typical white-washed finca Villa Nomad is not. Yet surveying the scene from its lofty perch, nestled between pinewood studded hills and the secluded cove of Cala Mastella, it appears very much at home.
After all, impactful design doesn’t live well in a vacuum, believes the villa’s owner, interior designer Dolores Batselaere, which is why the surrounding landscape guides her design ethos.
Villa Nomad is very much a product of its environment. “Being so close to the beach, I really wanted to plaster the walls inside and outside in a sandy tone,” she reflects. “The rough technique we used gives a beautiful textural effect in all lights and the colours meld harmoniously with the garden’s existing natural stone walls.”
The synergy between structure and surroundings doesn’t mean luxurious Villa Nomad blends into the background, however. To give the place a character all of its own, Dolores also ventured beyond Ibiza’s shores. The alang alang fringed ground floor roof, sourced from Bali, gives the building a more tropical persuasion.
“It was worth the eight-month wait,” smiles Dolores, adding that the reeds are one of the few materials not sourced locally. Wood, stones, linen: the line-up of natural materials were chosen for their timelessness and tactility, in tones that evoke the natural colours of the earth, because “nature is perfect as it is,” she muses.
In the living space, the colour palette takes a darker turn, inspired by a sourcing trip to Tulum. “On my hunt for materials I fell in love with dark natural stones, which I’ve used on the floor downstairs.” From there, it was an obvious choice to plaster the walls in dark micro cement. “Having the same array of colours on the floors, walls and ceilings renders the room more spacious – contemporary yet cosy,” she says.
The result is a space that feels calm and connected, with a seamless transition between interior and exterior. “For me, it was important to round all the angles, to blend the inside with the outside,” says Dolores. “I wanted to give the house an exotic feel.”
Cleverly positioned windows heighten this interplay, framing the verdant landscaped gardens beyond. A glass panelled fireplace spies on lush green landscaping, creating a stark contrast with the living room’s dark walls. In the master bedroom, a glass panel above the bed allows for a headboard of tropical palms, while in the bathroom a glass wall means you can shower among the foliage. “Nothing is more zen than inviting nature inside,” she adds.
Craftsmanship underpins Dolores’ work. Working with local craftsmen and women, everything from the kitchen cupboards to the bathrooms have been made bespoke. Even the micro cement floors found across the top floors involved a certain trial and error to find the perfect shade. “It feels good to give a little back to the island,” she says. “It gives me so much peace and harmony in my life and I’m always grateful for that.”
It’s been 15 years since Dolores moved to Ibiza. “Although I was well travelled before, I can honestly say this is the first and only place that feels like ‘home’. For me without any doubt, Ibiza is the most magical place in Europe. I always dreamed about living on a little island where the sea is crystal clear, where there are so many nice beaches, endless fields of flowers, and where people are free to live all kinds of different lives with no judgement.”
For me, it was important to round all the angles, to blend the inside with the outside
- Dolores Batselaere
The northern reaches of San Carlos are one of her favourite locales, so the opportunity presented by Villa Nomad was too tempting to pass by. “This part of the island is close to my heart as it has kept the authentic spirit of Ibiza,” says Dolores. “It’s pure and spiritual. Here, the ‘less is more’ mantra thrives among the eclectic neighbours, from the celebrities who slip under the radar to the goat herders leading their flocks over the caminos from campo to campo.”
It’s this blend of authenticity and freedom that makes Ibiza such a constant source of inspiration for Dolores. “There are also many creators and artists here doing interesting things, lifting up the quality of the food, service, art and architecture. It inspires me time after time.”